Mediterranean style is about tradition and well-placed decoration. Wallpapers that fit this style include florals, fruits, stripes and landscapes in warm earth and ocean colours. You also can combine wallpapered walls with painted walls in the same room for a different and fresh look.
The use of wallpaper to decorate rooms dates back to at least the early 1500s, and Mediterranean-inspired styles have been popular right from the beginning, as the first known English wallpaper product was an Italianate design of pomegranates. Wallpaper was chiefly popular in Europe and America, and manufactured mainly in France and England. There are a few modern Italian wallpaper manufacturers who offer many classic wallpaper designs like florals, architectural elements, leather-feel and traditional geometric patterns.
There are several basic types of wallpapers, including flocked paper, fabrics, foil-stamped, embossed, vinyl and grass cloth. They vary in difficulty of installation and cleaning, so check the manufacturer's standards before choosing one. Embossed and vinyl are the easiest to hang and care for, while fabrics and grass cloth are the most difficult. For a Mediterranean-style room, a foil, flocked or embossed wallpaper would be the most authentic.
The Mediterranean colour palette is wide, and your colour choices will depend on whether you prefer a Renaissance, Baroque or Tuscan look, among others. Warm and natural colours of red, brown, yellow and green are a popular colour scheme for a Mediterranean feel, but cobalt blue, clean white and matt black all are part of authentic Mediterranean decorating. A colour combination of blue, yellow and white is very coastal village, while a lusher scheme of red, slate grey and gold reflects an ornate villa. Avoid ultra-modern colour schemes like only black and white, however.
Styles used in Mediterranean homes tend to be focused on the abstract and the natural, with flowers, leaves, swirls and stripes predominating. For instance, an Italian kitchen might have a pattern of stripes on the lower half of the wall, with a waist-high border of framed diamonds or leaves, and the top half of the wall might be a textured-looking background with tiny diamonds spaced out on the wall, with another border at the ceiling.
Accent pieces are used to box in the wallpaper and provide definition to the room. They are usually found as wallpaper strips printed to look like decorative friezing or cornicing. The use of these was popular in Victorian wallpapering and will give a Victorian feel to a room. Some wallpapers are printed to already give this look, and their use would help create a very traditional Italian-style room.
Wallpaper is easy to take care of and adds a lovely pattern to a room. Some designers find it preferable to painting because of its ease of installation and the possibilities it creates in design. It does cost more than paint, but in a restored or period-style home, wallpaper is more authentic than paint.
Keep in mind the dimensions and type of room you are wallpapering. Wallpaper is not usually recommended for use in small rooms or bathrooms. In small rooms, it makes the room feel even smaller, and in bathrooms, the high humidity will cause it to weather and peel more quickly, unless vinyl wallpaper is used. Some wallpapers also are very difficult to hang, and may be best done by professionals.
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